suicide bombing in Kandahar Shiite mosque, at least 33 dead

A week after the attack on Kunduz, Afghanistan is again bloodied. At least 33 people were killed during Friday prayers in a suicide bombing attack on a Shiite mosque in Kandahar city, the birthplace of the Taliban, thus challenged in the heart of their traditional stronghold.

→ READ. At least 55 dead in suicide bombing of Shiite mosque in Kunduz

“Our first information shows that it is about a suicide bomber who blew himself up inside the mosque”a local Taliban official told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that an investigation was open.

This attack comes exactly one week after a suicide bombing attack on a Shiite mosque in Kunduz (northeast), claimed by Daesh and which left dozens of victims. If the Kandahar attack was also claimed by Daesh, it would be the first time the group has struck in this city.

Wave of attacks

Witnesses said several explosions hit the Fatemieh Mosque on Friday (October 15) in central Kandahar, the country’s second largest city, during the weekly Friday prayer. A spokesperson for the city’s central hospital reported at least 33 dead and 74 injured.

“We are saddened to learn that an explosion took place in a mosque of the Shiite brotherhood (…) in the city of Kandahar, in which a number of our compatriots were killed and wounded”, tweeted Taliban Interior Ministry spokesman Qari Sayed Khosti. “Special forces from the Islamic Emirate have arrived in the area to determine the nature of the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice”, he added.

Since coming to power on August 15, the Taliban, who have made the return to security in the country after twenty years of war their priority, have been faced with a wave of bloody attacks led by Daesh. Its local branch, the Islamic State-Khorasan (EI-K), has targeted the Taliban and the Afghan Shiite minority in recent weeks.

“A challenge to the Taliban”

The Taliban themselves have often attacked the Shiites, who represent between 10 and 20% of the Afghan population (around 40 million). But since coming to power, they have said they are determined to ensure its security.

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This attack, in the middle of the Taliban stronghold, is “A challenge to the Taliban who claim to have control of the country”, analysis Abdul Sayed, researcher specializing in monitoring Afghan jihadist groups for the ExTrac platform. “If they can’t protect Kandahar from an IS-K attack, how can they protect the rest of the country from IS-K?” “, adds the analyst, interviewed by AFP.

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